The Carolina Panthers suffered a massive loss this week and will be without one of their stud defensive lineman as they try to slow down Marshawn Lynch and Russell WilsonSaturday in Seattle.
NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport first reported Wednesday that Star Lotulelei has a fractured foot and is out for the remainder of the playoffs, according to a source informed of the injury.
Coach Ron Rivera later said that Lotulelei had surgery on a broken bone in his foot after the defensive tackle stepped on someone's foot and rolled his near the end of Tuesday's practice. Rivera added that there is hope that the second-year tackle could play in the Super Bowl, if the Panthers make it that far.
Lotulelei started 13 games this season and was a huge part of the defensive front that held the Arizona Cardinals to a playoff record-low 78 yards last week. The playmaking tackle eats up space inside against the run, helps push the pocket and can beat double teams against the pass.
Lotulelei played his best two games of the season down the stretch, after returning to form off a November ankle injury. His play helped lead the Panthers' defense to its two most dominant performances the past couple of weeks.
With the star tackle out, Rivera said Colin Cole (who started 10 games this season) will likely get the start. Dwan Edwards' snaps will also increase against the Seahawks' run-heavy offense. The duo will likely rotate on the inside with fellow stud second-year tackle Kawann Short.
"It's crazy, but we can't dwell on it," said Short via the Black and Blue Review regarding Lotulelei's injury.
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